As discussed prior, this research project requires recordings of a set of stimuli from individuals with dementia. We have recorded and analyzed three individuals, one is a healthy individual, one has TBI induced dementia and the other is in stage 5 of dementia. We will be re-recording these individuals in September to see the progression of their diagnosis and note the differences.
The issue we came across while doing this research, was the lack of participants. Dementia affects speech abilities at one point or another during the progression but unfortunately it is not what most people tend to notice or worry about. I learned that with this population of individuals, a patient and caring tone and nature is a must. In order to make the individual feel comfortable and to understand the procedure, we explain the research after so that it doesn’t skew the data.We make sure to acknowledge their efforts and hard work as well as ask them how they’re feeling. For them, it can become tiring half way through the procedure. I think it’s very important that I gain this experience in both research and working with dementia patients as many tend to forget about the field of geriatrics; even speech therapists themselves.
This project has only just begun for myself, and Dr. Carozza. There is still so much more to learn, understand and analyze to fulfill the goal of this research. We will be continuously working on this research throughout the year as we hope to submit a poster to the NY state speech convention in May. This research is highly important as a prospective Speech Language Pathologist as I have learned research procedures, writing clinically and how to properly work with individuals in this population. It is an exceptional feeling to know that I am taking part in something that can help further my career and understanding of a disease I will be all too familiar with in this field.
My name is Arva Turku and I am a communication science and disorders major here at Pace. I am an incoming senior with a new found passion for adult communication disorders. My interest peaked when I took a course with my professor and mentor, Dr. Linda Carozza. My heightened interest combined with Dr. Carozza’s experience and knowledge blossomed into this research project. Before I explain the project, I want to stress how important research in this field really is. Dementia is a common and chronic disease that severs daily mental abilities and brain function. It is a disease the health and science community still only know so much about. There is no cure and no definitive diagnosis. It is mentally debilitating, deteriorating most if not all brain functions including speech and language. This is where research means so much.
Temporal Structure of the Speech of Individuals with Dementia is the title of this research project my mentor and I are embarking on. The research question being; are there temporal characteristics in dementia that can be used as bio markers for dementia progression? At this point in time, our study is a “pilot” but our goal is to indicate whether motor speech decline patterns are associated with the decline in dementia. We plan on using statistical analysis of variance (ANOVA) which would compare means of different subjects (as compared to one another and also within the stimuli set) where we will analyze and note any individual differences. We are still gathering research participants and building up our data and knowledge as we are just beginning the basic measurements. However, we expect that the real bulk of this project will take place in the fall once we have accumulated enough data as well as completed our test- retest in which the participants are tested once again after 6 months in order to note dementia progression. Dr. Carozza is extremely knowledgeable in this field and it is truly such an honor and pleasure to be assisting her in research that can one day be ground breaking. I hope that you see what we see, as our research journey continues.